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Around Okeechobee: LaBelle, Clewiston, Immokalee, Belle Glade, Lake Placid

I'm on a chow hunt around Okeechobee for food of all kinds. If it is old Florida food, BBQ, Latin, or local, all the better, but all food considered. Also interested in roadside food like pnuts, fish, taco trucks, crabs, and so on.

For examples of recent finds i enjoyed:

Amazing coconut pie at Flora and Elle's in LaBelle. Pies frozen in time in the 1930s, with meringue a couple inches high.

I had some "sharpies", small lake/canal catfish fried whole, at the Clewiston Inn recently. It feels funny to eat fish like corn on the cob, but it was good. Looking for other places for this local delicacy.

There was also a solid bodega/cafeteria in Clewiston on the edge of town.

all help greatly appreciated. I will report back!

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  1. Don't miss the Swamp Cabbage Festival, in La Belle, on February 27 and 28. It is the epitome of small town celebration, with a parade, rodeo, and -- yes! -- armadillo races. You gotta love a festival where the National Anthem is listed as part of the entertainment.

    If you're looking for year 'round foodstuffs, this may not be it. But, for one good ol' fashioned weekend, this can't be beat.

    http://swampcabbagefestival.org/

    4 Replies
    1. re: southocean

      don't forget the Miss Swamp Cabbage pageant. It is hard to believe that young ladies would want to compete for the title of Miss Swamp Cabbage.

      1. re: andy huse

        There's a restaurant that's located on the north side of the Lake.....At the boat ramp...the name escapes me....but it's right next to the public boat ramp to access Lake O....And they have very good food there....Fried Gator....(my favorite)....and all kinds of goodies there....Nice spot on a Sunday afternoon..........

        EMac......

        1. re: LargeLife

          The place on the north side of the lake is Lightsey's. Stopped there today while wandering across the middle of the state. Service was pleasant and prompt. Food is REALLY good and the prices are reasonable.- they had an open buffet in the afternoon for $20. Oysters are big and tasty (a little sandy, but so what) and need nothing on them raw. Fried green tomatoes are coated in cornmeal and very yummy. Best of all is the grilled gator tenderloin - not the dry chewy fried tail bits you get everywhere else - it has a flavor and texture like very tender, juicy, lean pork. (They also have a small seafood counter, so we got a 5-lb. frozen bag of gator to go, farm-raised from down the road.) And their key lime pie at $2.50 a slice is a perfect finish. The place is at the entrance to a campground/RV park. It's a bit off the beaten path, but time it on a Saturday or Sunday to see the massive Okeechobee Flea Market in the morning, and it would be a great little road trip.

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          Lightsey Fish Co & Seafood Restaurant
          10430 W Highway 78, Okeechobee, FL 34972

          1. re: tartlette

            I love Lightsey's! Frogs legs and those little catfish... sign me up!

    2. Stopped at Dixie Chicken in Clewiston for lunch. Elvis themed southern menu featuring friend chicken, catfish, pork chops, friend steak, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed my gizzards and liver plate. My wife was ok with her grouper special. Stopped at Flora and Elle's for dessert. So right about the meringue. mmm..

      Dixie Chicken reviews, menu, etc: http://tinyurl.com/dixiechicken

      1. If you are in the Okeechobee area...try SkipJacks Southern Seafood Shack! Its delicious and the food is fresh. Also try Cowboys BBQ & Steak Co. They have award winning BBQ. Both resturants have great food and hospitality-Southern Style!

        1. You must also try Mrs. Georgia's Catfish and Steakhouse! They are two locations, Pahokee and Belle Glade. There are a variety of meals you can choose from, all of which are scrumptious! My personal favorite is the catfish and hush puppies, yumm. Definitely check it out and let us know how you like it!

          2 Replies
          1. re: tinglemytastebuds

            do you know if that catfish happens to be local? any sharpies?

            1. re: andy huse

              I can almost guarantee that the catfish is local

          2. I am from the area and must say that the best places to eat around the lake are mostly hidden and small and many of them require that you speak spanish. In clewiston Julio's Cafe Tropical has awesome cuban style chicken. In Belle Glade there is a small taco stand called Martin Tacos, they are amazing. These places are good, but for the very BEST cuban sandwich in Florida, you must go to the Lake Supermarket in Belle Glade and order either the steak or pork cubano.

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            Cafe Tropical
            307 E Sugarland Hwy, Clewiston, FL 33440

            Martin Tacos
            301 W Canal St N, Belle Glade, FL 33430

            2 Replies
            1. re: sugarcity

              I often drive through Belle Glade and Clewiston on my way to Palm Beach from Fort Myers. Belle Glade has the appearance of another country, certainly hispanic and seemingly very poor. The fields there have the darkest richest soil I've ever seen. I have put the Martin taco stand and the Lake Super Market on a list on my phone. Is that the market that is also a bowling alley?:

              1. re: LilMsFoodie

                I agree, Belle Glade is almost like a 3rd world country in many ways. The market you are referring to is the bowling supermarket, it is actually not a bowling alley anymore, it is now just a mexican supermarket and restaurant. I assume they just call it that because the building was a bowling alley for many many years. As for lake supermarket, It is on Canal Street next to the bank drive through. It is a small grey building. The sandwich counter is all the way in the back. The area around the supermarket doesn't seem to be the safest area, but I assure you it is. Regardless of the safety, I would go to lake supermarket even if it was in the Gaza Strip to get their steak or pork cuban sandwich. They are like none that I have ever had before.

            2. Flora and Ellies pies are no more. The ladies retired this year or late last year I believe. The pies were the real thing, especially that coconut pie.

              1 Reply
              1. re: LilMsFoodie

                a little piece of me died when i first heard the news early this year.